Cats are famous for landing on their feet, but one Carlisle moggie was lucky to walk away from a terrifying fall.
George, the much-loved pet of Cumberland Infirmary radiographer Kate Riley, plunged to the ground from a three-storey high tree as rescuers tried to reach him.
Miraculously, vets found that although the impact had split the roof of his mouth, he was otherwise unscathed.
“It definitely seems like a miracle,” said Kate, who lives in Denton Holme.
“I can’t believe he ended up being ok. He landed on his back. One of my friends saw him hit the ground and said he didn’t think he would survive because of how far he had fallen.”
George’s escapade began when he slipped out of the back door at home just as Kate was going to work.
“He’s an indoor cat and has hardly ever been outside,” said Kate. “I was calling and calling him, and he wouldn’t come back.”
That evening he was located not far from home, in a tree estimated to be more than 30 feet or 9 metres high.
“I rushed straight over, and he was up the tree looking very scared,” said Kate. “The tree is taller than the three-storey house behind it. I just thought how on earth have you got up there. And why?”
A tree surgeon tried to reach George, but he retreated to the very top. Cumbria Fire and Rescue service also attended but were unable to help.
“Their truck couldn’t reach the top of the tree and they said they would have to bring a different truck which wouldn’t fit down the street,” she said.
There was no choice but to leave George in the tree overnight.
“It was quite upsetting. People said they could hear him crying all night,” she said.
The next day the tree surgeon returned for a second attempt, but as he tried to bring George down, the frightened cat fell.
“George fell from at least half the height of the tree,” said Kate. “He landed on his back and lay there stunned. Everyone thought he was dead. Then he stood up and a lady grabbed him. He had blood coming from his nose and mouth.”
She rushed him to Paragon Veterinary Group in Dalston where head veterinary nurse Karen MacDonald and vet Graham Lewis came to his aid.
“I was so shocked, when I rang the vets I probably made no sense at all,” said Kate. “Karen reassured me – when it came to handing him over it all hit me and I was quite upset.”
An examination, neurological checks and X rays showed that although George had split the roof of his mouth, he was otherwise uninjured. He was admitted to surgery and Graham stitched his mouth injury.
“I could not believe he did not have more extensive injuries and we were delighted that following a short surgery he was quickly on the mend. I think he must have used up more than one of his nine lives!” said vet Graham.
Kate says: “I am just very, very relieved he is ok. George is now back to his usual cheeky self. He has always been adventurous since he was a kitten.
“He jumps on the wardrobes and on top of the door frames in my house and has no boundaries at all when it comes to personal space. “But he is not going outside again. He is now grounded – permanently.”